What Tinubu, Akande Told Buhari As They Meet Over Ambode In Aso Rock; Oshiomhole To Supervise Lagos Guber Primary


What Tinubu Told Buhari As Duo Meets Over Ambode In Aso Rock, Oshiomhole To Supervise Lagos Primary

Abuja, Nigeria Political News 2nd October, 2018: President Muhammadu Buhari last night met with the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, and the party’s former National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, over the brewing succession crisis in Lagos State, reports Thisday Newspaper.

Tinubu and his political machine, the Mandate Movement, are opposing Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s second term bid, throwing up the Managing Director of Lagos State Development and Property Corporation, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, as his main challenger.

Despite the intervention of Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Governor Abiola Ajimobi, former governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba, and the party’s National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, the opposition to Ambode’s aspiration was sustained with Tinubu insisting that the governor must test his popularity at the primary.

Last Thursday, Ambode took up the gauntlet and decided to face the primary, reactivating his campaign machinery with the recruitments of agents across the 20 local governments and 37 local development councils in the state.

Faced with an imminent showdown, the state’s highest political advisory group, Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC), chaired by Tinubu, which had compelled the primary contest, last Friday asked Ambode to stand down for Sanwo-Olu, its preferred candidate.

The governor refused and defiantly responded with a world press conference on Sunday, questioning the competence of the national leader’s preferred aspirant and warned of the dire consequences of the brewing crisis for the president’s electoral fortune in the state in the impending 2019 general elections.

According to Thisday report, although the presidency was worried about the face-off and would have preferred that Ambode was given a right of first refusal, its attitude was to await the outcome of today’s primary having failed to persuade Tinubu to back down.

However, it was learnt, the presidency had moved to get the National Secretariat of the party to ensure that the process, which was in the hands of the State Executive Committee, populated by the Mandate Movement element, was neutralised to ensure a level playing field.

The thinking in the presidency, according to Thisday, was that with the direct primary system adopted by the state, Ambode stood a fighting chance if the process was transparent.

Consequently, Oshiomhole was directed to not only constitute a credible electoral panel, but to also personally supervise the primary.

Tinubu’s media adviser, Mr. Tunde Rahman, confirmed the meeting with Buhari last night.

“Asiwaju Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande were invited by President Buhari and it turned out to be a good and productive meeting. Asiwaju was quite pleased to have conferred with the President who has always shown himself to be a committed party member and a true democrat,” he was quoted by Thisday Newspaper as saying.

He added, “Just like the president, he is looking forward to a good and credible primary that is peaceful and free of rancour. As previously stated, Asiwaju plans to vote in this primary and his position regarding the relative merits of the candidates remains unchanged.”

The outcome of yesterday’s was hazy last night but it was learnt that Tinubu seized the opportunity to explain his position to Buhari, who, according to Thisday reports, had been made to perceive that the party’s national leader has been unnecessarily recalcitrant over the presidency’s move to provide succour for Ambode.

Presidency sources quoted by The Newspaper, said Tinubu appealed for Buhari’s understanding and asked him to trust his judgement on the matter. A reliable source quoted by Thisday, said last night that both Tinubu and Akande discreetly arrived the State House at 5 pm for the meeting that was carefully designed not to generate media attention.

What was discussed at the meeting was officially unknown but it was believed that the president must have handed a note of caution to both leaders to handle the matter meticulously in a way that it will not have a backlash effect that can cause APC Lagos State.

Ambode’s last Sunday’s conversation with the world press where he described Sanwo-olu as a fraudster and mental illness patient who is not fit to govern Lagos State, was sufficient prove that he might have decided to rock the boat, a prospect presidency officials felt was capable of sinking the party in the state.

“We don’t want to go too far; we don’t want to talk about all the things that we know; but what we want is for our leadership to have a rethink because the truth is this, I will not stand here on the mandate of Lagosians and allow our great party APC to put in somebody that the opposition will easily take out because of lack of credibility,” Ambode had said.

This statement, presidency officials believe, is too loaded to be waved off. “Clearly Ambode has minimum capacity to do maximum damage,” a source said last night.

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